Gordon Grdina / Jim Black - Martian Kitties CD
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The first duo album from Vancouver-based guitarist & oud player Gordon Grdina alongside legendary drummer Jim Black! This isn't the first meeting of course, as Grdina & Black have spent time together touring and recording with Grdina's Nomad Trio (also featuring Matt Mitchell), but Martian Kitties is a much looser and in some ways more exciting affair than their previously released recordings together. Grdina has made a name for himself as an inventive composer beyond just his incredible playing skills, but Martian Kitties finds both Grdina and Black having fun in a freely improvised setting! Comprised of 13 tracks that range from shorter vingettes to longer meditations, Grdina and Black let it fly—from the opening fire of "Martian Kitties" through lopping rhythms of "Short Scale" through the ending beauty in the hymn-like "Bear Handler." Grdina & Black stretch their skills about as far as they can. You can truly hear them having fun, like a throwback to a classic "blowing" session, allowing them to explore more possibilities—the gentle droning of "Black Lodge" (which I truly hope is a Twin Peaks reference since it sounds straight from the show), and the electronics laden "Fuzzy Goats." Martian Kitties might not be a landmark or [insert hyperbolic statement here] type album, but it sure is a helluva lot of fun and grows upon repeated listens. Grdina has continued to make his mark as a guitarist and Black here (now 3 decades into his career) makes us all wonder why he doesn't get more attention. Dig in and listen!